A recap of the last few months, Part I: (Annika’s short visit)

This is part one of a three part recap of what I’ve been doing these last few months.

So Annika arrived into Charlotte (as I mentioned in the last posting), visited my family in NC and finally flew out to her new home, San Diego, where Waid and I picked her up from the Airport. I had saved up all my absentee days at school in order to be able to spend more time with Annika since this almost two weeks is the only chance we will be able to see each other till March. We didn’t really do too many things; just enjoyed each other’s company.

Annika did, however, have an interview with the German immersion school around the corner. The result is that she has a job as a kindergarten (auf Deutsch: Vorschule) teacher starting in April. She won’t be a “real” teacher until she gets her credentials. She should be able to do most of the course work for that over the summer and be working as a credentialed teacher in the Fall.

The stuff worth writing about actually happened when Annika wanted to fly to China. We bought a one-way ticket from the Air China’s US website for about $500 and shortly thereafter received, via email, the confirmation stating, “E-Ticket purchase has been confirmed by the airline. No tickets will be mailed.” Great! So, on Wednesday, November 15th, Annika got the train to LA for $29. Josh was nice enough to pick her up from the train station, let her sleep at his place and even take her to the airport just before 7am.

When Annika arrives at the airport she goes to the counter with booking number ready expecting to be given her boarding pass and go through security. Instead, she is told that she has a paper ticket and without that she will not be allowed to board. Being that the airline doing the processing is United and the flight is also a United flight, they cannot do anything with tickets purchased through Air China. She’s told that she’ll have to speak to an Air China representative. So Annika hurriedly goes to the Air China desk only to find that the don’t open till shortly before her flight leaves. After a few more desperate attempts to get on her plane, she realizes that she has no chance and waits for the Air China desk to open in hopes of getting on a plane that day.

When she finally gets to talk to Air China people they tell her she’ll have to talk to the agent she bought the tickets from. She tells them she bought it directly from the Air China US site. They tell her that she actually bought it from Expedia. It turns out that, although there is no mention of this, whenever you buy a ticket from the Air China US site you are buying it through an outside agent. So Annika get in the phone with Expedia and they confirm that the ticket was booked through them. They also confirm that she ordered a paper ticket (although it clearly states “E-ticket” in her confirmation). In fact, the ticket had been delivered by UPS on the 8th! Annika calls and asks me to go home and check that we have the tickets at home. The ticket was lying inside a UPS envelope inside our screened-in porch.

The reason we hadn’t noticed the envelope was that it was lying right where we would normally put the paper to be recycled. I remember seeing the envelope but not paying it any mind because of where it was lying and the fact that we were not expecting anything. Initially, we thought that UPS delivery person had put it where it where we found it but I have my doubts now. I talked to our delivery guy an as I had though, he mentioned that he would never go inside the gate because he new we had a dog.

So, I eventually call Annika and tell her that the ticket is there. She is first told to have it faxed. I get on my scooter and while approaching 30th and University the back tire goes flat. What great timing! So I called Waid to have him pick me up, which he was nice enough to do. Luckily there was a place with a fax machine around the corner. Once Waid had picked me up, we went to the scooter shop so that I could also print out and fax the “E-ticket” confirmation. Keep in mind this is around 6:30pm. Annika arrived at the airport around 7am.

Annika had her meeting with an Air China supervisor at 8pm. In the meantime, while wondering around LAX, Annika ran into Thomas Gottschalk of all people. He is host of “Wetten, Das?,” a German TV show and one of the most famous people in Germany. She got his autograph and told him her situation, of course.

Well, back in the real world Annika went to her meeting with the Air China people at 8am. They had received the fax but insisted she have the real tickets in hand. It would not be a problem to give her another flight to Shanghai but the original tickets had to be shown. This meant that I’d have to deliver them. Annika told them she would have the ticket and booked a flight for the next day.

At 11:30 I went to Thrifty to pick-up the Economy car I had reserved only to find there was only Mini-vans left. Ugh! So I take that and drive through the extremely dense fog. I buy a couple Monsters to keep me awake and arrive in LA at 2:50am. Josh’s place was easy to find and and I was sleeping by 3:10am. At 6:40am we awoke and quickly made our way to the airport. The traffic was surprisingly a non-issue.

So there we were, at the terminal where Annika had just spent 15 hour the previous day. We get to the counter, show the ticket and are told not surprisingly that the ticket is for the day before. Annika explains and is told that this is not “their” (United’s) ticket and they can change it. At this point we both kinda make funny noises in despair/disbelief. Annika is a used to this by now and firmly explains the situation. Someone who dealt with Annika the previous morning comes over and confirms. After the supervisor calls the “international supervisor” Annika is FINALLY cleared to leave.

I stay till Annika is safely through the security check and make my way home. Annika spent over $20 on phone calls that day and I ended spending $75 for the rental and gas. As you can see Annika’s departure was quite eventful. I hope she’s able to leave China without all this hassle.

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